Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster.
Injuries play a huge role in NBA DFS on a nightly basis. Value plays on the various daily fantasy sites can arise at a moment’s notice so always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.
The Full Roster contests on FanDuel (FD) include a new scoring system in which the lowest score of the nine selected players is dropped, allowing users to take more risks with a punt play or two. Then, DraftKings (DK) has brought back its late swap for NBA contests.
12/19/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Wednesday Shootaround: $12 entry, $425k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Rotation Player: $66 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $10K to 1st!
Legendary Layup: $9 entry, $375k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Slam: $88 entry, $200k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $50,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 19, 2018
Best DFS guards for Dec. 19, 2018
Russell Westbrook at SAC ($11k DraftKings, $11.4k FanDuel)
One way or the other, Westbrook gets his fantasy points. He’s currently sporting his lowest scoring average (20.7) since the 2009-10 season. Yet he’s still averaging 55.2 DK and 52.5 FD points. He’s also averaged over 60 fantasy points on both sites in two previous games versus the Kings this season on the strength of 30.5 PPG and 52.1 percent shooting. Those impressive numbers aren’t surprising given both Westbrook’s talent and the Kings’ various defensive deficiencies. Sacramento is allowing the fifth-most DK (48.8) and FD (47.9) points per game to PGs, along with the second-most assists (9.2). They’re also yielding the most points in the paint per game (52.9). In turn, Westbrook is logging 53.0 percent of his points (10.9 per game) in that area of the floor.
Eric Bledsoe vs. NO ($7.6k DraftKings, $7.8k FanDuel)
Bledsoe is averaging over 36 fantasy points per game on both sites at home this season. He’s also been over 30 fantasy points twice and over 40 in two other games on both sites over the last four, above-average returns on his current prices. The matchup Wednesday is a fertile one for fantasy production too. The Pelicans nearly match the Bucks in pace, checking in just behind their 106.6 possessions per game with 106.4 per contest. New Orleans is also surrendering the third-most DK (50.7) and FD (50.2) points per game to point guards. Bledsoe is shooting a career-high 50.2 percent and will have plenty of avenues to strong production in a game that’s likely to be close.
Reggie Bullock at MIN ($4.3k DraftKings, $4.6k FanDuel)
Bullock came through as a value consideration Monday night against the Bucks in an appealing matchup. He tallied 31.25 DK and 28.1 FD points across 34 minutes while shooting a blistering 71.4 percent from three-point range. He could be in line for another handsome return on his bargain prices Wednesday. The Timberwolves have gotten progressively softer versus SGs since Jimmy Butler’s departure and now yield the eighth-most DK (42.7) and ninth-most FD (41.2) points per game to the position. Those numbers are partly the result of Minnesota giving up the second-most rebounds (6.8) and seventh-most made threes (3.1) to SGs. The latter figure is especially relevant when considering Bullock: he’s taking 5.6 three-point attempts per game and draining them at a 37.8 percent clip.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Stephen Curry, Ben Simmons, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Jrue Holiday, Victor Oladipo, Chris Paul, DeMar DeRozan, D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Jeremy Lamb, Matthew Dellavedova
Best DFS forwards for Dec. 19, 2018
Anthony Davis at MIL ($11.6k DraftKings, $12.7k FanDuel)
Davis checks in as the most expensive option at forward on either site Wednesday. However, considering he’ll be locked into massive minutes in what should be a highly competitive matchup and will be playing without Julius Randle (ankle), he’s worth the investment. “The Brow” is averaging 60 DK and 61.3 FD points, and he’s been over 60 twice and over 70 once on both sites in the last three games. Davis’ already robust 28.8 percent usage rate should see an uptick with Randle absent Wednesday, a development that should see him log time at both power forward (with Nikola Mirotic also out) and center. The Bucks come in allowing 48.5 DK and 46.2 FD points per game to fours and the seventh-most points (24.9) to fives.
Jayson Tatum vs. PHO ($6.4k DraftKings, $6.7k FanDuel)
Tatum has been rock-solid for both cash games and GPPs, recently scoring over 30 fantasy points on either site nearly without fail. Despite the talented players with whom he shares the floor, Tatum’s usage rate is at a robust 22.1 percent while averaging 13.2 shot attempts per contest. He’ll be in good position for another strong return Wednesday against a Suns squad that’s allowing the fourth-most DK (43.5) and sixth-most FD (42.8) points per game to small forwards. They’re also yielding the second-most points (22.9) and fifth-most assists (4.0) per contest to threes, along with the second-highest shooting percentage (49.2). Tatum is capable of exploiting those weaknesses as he’s shooting an impressive 46.6 percent, including 39.5 percent from three-point range.
Jerami Grant at SAC ($4.5k DraftKings, $5.1k FanDuel)
The Kings have been beatable down low all season, and Grant is capable of taking advantage of the matchup. The fifth-year big is already boasting career highs across the stat sheet and is capable of spacing the floor as well, as his 37.1 percent success rate on 3.1 three-point attempts per game attests. The Kings allow the fourth-most DK (50.9) and FD (49.3) points per game to fours, along with the fourth-most points (23.9) per contest to the position. They’re also yielding the second-highest shooting percentage (51.8) to the position. Then, Sacramento is also the most vulnerable team in the NBA in the paint as outlined in Westbrook’s entry; Grant logs just over half his scoring (52.0) in that area of the floor.
Other forwards to consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Lauri Markkanen, Larry Nance, Jr., Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Knox, Taj Gibson, Dario Saric
Best DFS centers for Dec. 19, 2018
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. DET ($9.7k DraftKings, $9.9k FanDuel)
Towns has averaged over 48 fantasy points per home contest on both sites and hasn’t dipped below 40 in seven consecutive on DK nor in six of the last seven on FD. He finds himself in a good spot against the Pistons, who’ve allowed 53.6 DK and 53.2 FD points per game to centers, along with the second-highest shooting percentage (57.9). They’re also yielding the sixth-most points (25.1) and fifth-most blocks (2.8), two areas in which Towns thrives. The floor-spacing big man is averaging 21.4 points and a career-high 1.8 blocks. Plus, his 26.4 percent usage rate is tops on the T-Wolves.
Clint Capela vs. WAS ($7.9k DraftKings, $8.4k FanDuel)
Capela may go a tad less owned than usual on a slate with so many options, but he’s a highly viable alternative if you’re paying down a bit from the top tier. He’ll draw a Wizards team on the second night of a back-to-back that’s already yielding 58.0 DK and 57.3 FD points per game to fives, as well as the sixth-most rebounds (17.2). They’re also allowing the seventh-highest field-goal percentage (55.5) to centers while Capela already touched up this same Washington squad for 46.5 DK and 47.8 FD points on Nov. 26. The emerging big has scored over 40 fantasy points on four occasions and also eclipsed 50 once over the last 10 games.
Mike Muscala vs. NY ($3.5k DraftKings, $4.1k FanDuel)
Muscala has mostly outperformed his minuscule price tags in recent games. The veteran big man has scored 20 or more fantasy points in eight of the last 10 games on DK and six of the last 10 on FD, with a pair of games over 30 included in that sample. He also posted 23.5 DK and 22.1 FD points against the Knicks in his one prior encounter on Nov. 28. Muscala is averaging a solid 23.8 minutes per game while serving as the primary backup at both power forward and center. Both present as favorable positional matchups Wednesday. New York allows the second-most DK (51.9) and FD (50.3) points per game to fours. Then, they’re yielding 58.1 DK and 58.0 FD points per game to centers. They also yield the fourth-highest shooting percentage to power forwards (51.3), furthering Muscala’s case at his bargain basement prices.
Other centers to consider: Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert, Marc Gasol, Jusuf Nurkic, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams, Myles Turner, Jarrett Allen, Cody Zeller